Tijuana Mexico is not just donkey shows, Tecate bars, chorizo trucks and narcotraficantes. Nowadays there’s a craft beer or cerveza artesanal scene too. Writer Sarah Bennet explores a new, open-air, craft beer plaza http://www.laweekly.com/restaurants/this-mall-of-nightclubs-in-tijuana-is-being-taken-over-by-craft-beer-5614132

Maine Beer Company started out as a one barrel brewhouse. Broken Wheel Brewery in Marksville, Louisiana has achieved liftoff with one barrel as well. In New Orleans, Courtyard Brewery runs a brisk taproom with a three barrel system. Is nanobrewing the wave of the future? http://www.masslive.com/food/2015/05/craft_beer_microbrews_increasi.html

Chris Pahl of Broken Wheel Brewery In Marksville, Louisiana

Chris Pahl of Broken Wheel Brewery In Marksville, Louisiana

Japanese are masterful at turning their attention to trends in USA then wildly reinventing whatever it is the Americans were attempting to do. Like craft beer http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-06/happy-hour-japan-s-brewers-finally-get-serious-about-craft-beer

A six part documentary series on San Diego’s craft beer scene is preparing to air http://www.kpbs.org/news/2015/may/18/new-series-documents-san-diegos-craft-beer-scene/

Craft beer guide to Mississippi http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2015/05/the-craft-beer-guide-to-mississippi.html

Rusty’s Po Boys and Seafood has risen from the ashes of Kajun Express on Washington Avenue.

Rusty Of Rusty's Po Boy And Seafood On Washington Avenue

Rusty Of Rusty’s Po Boy And Seafood On Washington Avenue

We’ve spent the afternoon digging around Central City, taking photos inside the new Wayward Owl Brewing and attempting to eat at the legendary Joe’s Po Boys on MLK ( est.1957 but now possibly out of business) when we decide to reconnoiter north to see if we can vector in on some lunch.

New Orleans Quintessential Catfish Po Boy

New Orleans Quintessential Catfish Po Boy

Rusty’s Po Boy And Seafood sits in the former Kajun Express in a run down storefront on Washington Avenue in New Orleans Broadmoor neighborhood.

Rusty's Po Boy Also Serves Fried Chicken And Handmade Corndogs

Rusty’s Po Boy Also Serves Fried Chicken And Handmade Corndogs

Plenty pimps and hookers are afoot.

Online Menu Rusty's Po Boy On Washington  Avenue

Online Menu Rusty’s Po Boy On Washington
Avenue

While it’s true that we could dine at dozens of better known po boy shops where we are 100 percent certain of having a delicious lunch, these days we’re far more interested in testing foreign waters than eating at New Orleans old standards.DSC04286

Rusty is feeling loquacious but not talkative enough to reveal how she got her nickname. The nice Vietnamese lady explains that she had been cooking in a restaurant out in Kenner when she decided she wanted to open her own place. And about that nickname-odd for a Vietnamese gal? She politely demurs so we refrain from pressing the matter.

	4122 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70125

4122 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70125

The fried catfish po boy comes out presently and it is a behemoth. At $8.99 there is some real value here as sandwiches of this size in New Orleans now go for upwards of $20.

Rusty's Po Boy On Washington Avenue

Rusty’s Po Boy On Washington Avenue

Another good reason to eat in the ghetto.

Tasty Kakes In The Broadmoor Ghetto

Tasty Kakes In The Broadmoor Ghetto

Multiple planks of fish are stacked atop one another til you have to unhinge your jaw to get the sandwich in your mouth. And that fish? Catfish is dredged in lightly seasoned corn meal then flash-fried til crispy. Dressed at Rusty’s means mayo, lettuce, tomato and pickle. Rusty balks when we ask for pickles on the side (hot pickles are not what we’re after) but finally acquiesces.

Kajun Seafood Express Ghost Sign. Please Note The Ham VIP Sandwich

Kajun Seafood Express Ghost Sign. Please Note The Ham VIP Sandwich

There is no seating at Rusty’s. The space is big enough to accommodate a couple dozen diners but Rusty does not offer sit-down dining. It’s all to-go.

Rusty Of Rusty's Po Boy On Washington Avenue

Rusty Of Rusty’s Po Boy On Washington Avenue

And don’t ask for credit. Rusty has been burned before and is now wise to the hucksters and charlatans who would have their way with her. She relates a tale of how a neighborhood denizen flim-flammed her out of a fried chicken combo.

“NEVER SAW HIM AGAIN” she thundered.

Rusty’s Po Boy And Seafood
4122 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70125

Sale is “pending” on the old L.A. Frey & Sons Meat Packing Plant & Office Building on Burgundy in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans. Sale price was/is $3 million.

LA Frey At 3925 Burgundy Street In Bywater

LA Frey At 3925 Burgundy Street In Bywater

The building is over 66k square feet so one imagines a lot of condos will be appearing on the market in the next couple years after the rehab of the old sausage factory is complete.

Area thugs and brigands will be delighted to find many new victims moving to the area to reside as new upmarket living opportunities present themselves.

3925 Burgundy
New Orleans, LA
70117

Hard times at the 2015 Cochon de Lait Festival in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana.

Avoyelles Parish Inmate

Avoyelles Parish Inmate

When we began plotting a trip to Mansura for the big pig party that started way back in 1960, we were rightly excited. Avoyelles Parish marks the northernmost boundary of Acadiana but we reckoned that the eating would still be as good as though we were deep in the heart of Cajun Country.

Mansura Louisiana Town Hall

Mansura Louisiana Town Hall

We were wrong.

Open Air Barbecue Pit In Mansura Louisiana

Open Air Barbecue Pit In Mansura Louisiana

The promoters for the event trumpeted that the “Grand Feast” would begin Sunday morning.

Barbecue Fire Wood In Mansura Louisiana

Barbecue Fire Wood In Mansura Louisiana

When Cajun folks use the word grand and feast in the same sentence you can rest assured you will be dining in the stratosphere of rural folk cuisine.

A Cadre Of Avoyelles Parish Inmates

A Cadre Of Avoyelles Parish Inmates

Wrong again.

The Best Barbecue In Avoyelles Parish

The Best Barbecue In Avoyelles Parish

Stepping onto the grounds of the Cochon de Lait Festival on Sunday morning something seems amiss. There are no people bustling about and the event has the forlorn air of a party that has let out early with everybody leaving in handcuffs or in the backs of ambulances.

Detritus From The 2015 Cochon de Lait Festival

Detritus From The 2015 Cochon de Lait Festival

A team of inmates in matching red jail garb is halfheartedly sweeping the blacktop parking lot, complaining bitterly all the while. None of them looks capable of making a break for it so we amble inside after paying the $8 cover for a “Grand Feast”

Boudin And Cracklins In Avoyelles Parish

Boudin And Cracklins In Avoyelles Parish

The Feasting Hall is desolate.

The Grand Feast At 2015 Cochon de Lait In Mansura Louisiana

The Grand Feast At 2015 Cochon de Lait In Mansura Louisiana

A few old timers are sitting at a folding table with a stack of styrofoam boxes careered across it. “How many?” one of them barks. I hold up a single ticket, am handed a good, hefty box and begin looking for a place to sit.

Pork Barbecue In Mansura Louisiana

Pork Barbecue In Mansura Louisiana

Clearly a big crowd is not expected as the tables are all mashed together in the middle of the room to create a continent of plastic and wooden-laminate. The floors are sticky with dried up Pepsi, the tables have gnarled debris of pork stuck to them and more prisoners are languishing about, casting worried glances toward the old white men who are in charge of their weal.

Inside The 2015 Cochon de Lait Festival

Inside The 2015 Cochon de Lait Festival

Grief is in the air.

Avoyelles Parish Inmates

Avoyelles Parish Inmates

Cracking into the box, a good smell of wood smoke wafts upward. A charred hunk of pig hide is straddling a few tendrils of dried out pork; a naked bone of unknown provenance has been stabbed into a pile of dirty rice; a foil wrapped sweet potato rides shotgun, and a small cup of coleslaw sits off to the side.

A Ray Bradbury Scene In Mansura Louisiana

A Ray Bradbury Scene In Mansura Louisiana

The effect doesn’t so much say Grand Feast as “we’re all on our last legs here and we’ll probably be dead before the final tourist leaves town”

Blue Skies At The 2015 Cochon de Lait Festival

Blue Skies At The 2015 Cochon de Lait Festival

Desultory.

A Teenager In Mansura Louisiana

A Teenager In Mansura Louisiana

The meat (it’s not cochon de lait, this hog has been off the teat since Eisenhower was in office) is tough, dry, smokey, and largely inedible. The room temperature coleslaw is syrupy sweet with nary a hint of acid to cut through the treacle. On the bright side, the sweet potato is quite good. Yes, $8 for a sweet potato is a mite pricey but we’re optimists at heart.

Avoyelles Parish Louisiana

Avoyelles Parish Louisiana

The backstory of the Cochon de Lait Festival is a good one. The partying had gotten so hard a dozen years into the run that local law enforcement shut it down. One internet scribe (this one) described the old days thusly: “At one point the Cajuns attending the party had gone native and gotten so wild and wooly what with all the drugs, dancing, rampant pork consumption and public sex that the city put a halt to the celebration for almost two decades.”

Mansura Louisiana Fire Department

Mansura Louisiana Fire Department

It’s time for the reigning body to do just that once again. Shut it down. And if they can’t afford to lose the revenue then please run down around Broussard somewhere and find a wiry pack of cochon de lait experts, offer ‘em a few cases of beer and all the barbecue they can eat and hire them to take over the hard part; the cooking of the barbecue, cause whoever’s in charge right now is plumb tuckered.

Easter Finery On Display In Mansura Louisiana

Easter Finery On Display In Mansura Louisiana

1832 Leglise Street
Mansura, LA
71350